"The Greatest Sermon Ever Written: Scary Parentheses"

As I prepare to start on my annual vacation tomorrow, I’m reflecting on the fact that this has been a very busy season of life for our church family.

We had a whirlwind but amazing Vacation Bible School this Summer, and we were able to touch so many lives through that ministry.  Please be in prayer for those families -- especially, that we could continue to grow them deeper and stronger with the Lord as we stay connected with them.

We’ve also had a number of people who’ve gotten fairly ill this Summer (including members of my own family).  Please be in prayer for their health and energy, that God would restore their bodies as well as their good spirits.

In a week and a half, we’ll celebrate Orpha Erickson’s 100th birthday -- and that’s the kind of staying power that you just don’t see often enough these days!  If you can join them for the Saturday open house at the Lutheran Home, that’s great, but definitely be thinking about and praying for her on her actual birthday on Tuesday the 6th.  Praise God that she’s been such a loving and beloved member of our church family for so many years -- we’ve all been truly blessed.

I’ve also personally had the opportunity to share the Good News about Jesus Christ with several people this Summer, from a number of different angles.  That’s an amazing blessing, and I’ve genuinely wept at how God has been able to use my broken and feeble teaching to work His perfect and powerful love into people’s hearts.  Lives change when we let God use us to make a difference -- beginning with our own lives.  Please pray for ongoing opportunities to reach people with the truth, as well as opportunities to continue growing together once we do reach them.

We chatted about that in our message this week, as we returned to our ongoing sermon series looking at the sermon to the Hebrews in the New Testament.  By chapter 5, our preacher has been ramping up into this great, extended analogy about Melchizedek... but then he had to stop himself because he had to chide his listeners for not having their spiritual pencils sharpened enough to work the math problem with him -- when we needed to be teachers, he found us still stuck in nursery school.

See, too often, we can find ourselves comfortable sucking a baby bottle when we’ve been called to dig into the rich meat of God’s Truth.  It’s frothy, it’s filling, and it’s easy, so we stick to it.  But we need to be growing deeper and stronger with the Lord so that we can reach and feed new babies, rather than remaining comfortably shallow in our own faith with God as babies ourselves.

The truth is, staying frothy and shallow isn’t just pointless -- it’s often dangerous.  It can even serve as an inoculation against genuine Christianity because we can become inured to God, used to keeping things at arm’s distance -- and when struggles come, we can fall away and be so jaded against to our vapid, diluted strain of Christianity that our systems can’t accept God’s genuine, vibrant Truth when we run across it again later on.

Here’s the thing -- our preacher really wants to talk with us about this Melchizedek guy, and I really want to let him.  So let’s take a deep breath, take a long look at ourselves to see where we’ve maybe been more comfortable playing in a safe nursery in our lives when God wants us teaching at a messy college, and be willing to get past a frothy faith that doesn’t really change us.  Let’s keep on growing deeper, every day of our lives... and let’s do that together with other brothers and sisters in Christ...